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Talking Football with Terrelle Pryor, Washington's New Flame

Washington's new offensive weapon on his relationship with Kirk Cousins, his one-year "prove it" deal, and how his quarterback roots make him a better receiver

RICHMOND, Va. — A fan standing in the front row of Washington’s training camp practice held up sign that read, “Terrelle Pryor Is On Fire.” The glittery flame-shaped letters on the sign were painted in Washington’s traditional shades of burgundy and gold, complete with a doodle of the red "100" emoji underneath the flames. Pryor is the new attraction in Washington and hardly a practice goes by without a cheer-provoking catch from the former-quarterback-turned-receiver. (Just see the video below.) After a recent morning walk-through, Washington’s new offensive weapon spoke to The MMQB about his relationship with quarterback Kirk Cousins, his one-year “prove-it” deal, and what he likes best about playing receiver. 

KAHLER: Here in Washington, you have a stable quarterback situation with Kirk Cousins, as opposed to last year’s merry-go-round with the Browns. What do you think you are capable of this season?

PRYOR: I just want to continue to get better. I don’t know if there is a ceiling or what my max is, I don’t think people really know what their ceiling really is. I just think, at the end of the day, every day you just want to maximize your day to get better and just continue to excel.

KAHLER: You spent some time working out with Steelers receiver Antonio Brown this offseason. What else you did differently this offseason that you think has made you a better player?

PRYOR: I started eating a little different. I hired a chef and he did a lot of stuff with using organic spices and stuff like that, and not really using the regular spices. Doing that kind of helped me; I think it gave me more fuel. And I continued working out and working on my craft during the offseason. I think that was a plus, and I think just working smarter and really having a plan of what I want to do and get better at.

Fans hold up signs at Washington's training camp.

Fans hold up signs at Washington's training camp.

KAHLER: What’s your favorite food that you new chef makes?

PRYOR: Yams. He puts some spices on it and makes it sweet, but it’s not really sugar or anything. It’s probably my favorite thing he makes.

KAHLER: In 2014, when you were fighting for the third-string quarterback spot with the Seahawks, you said, “I don’t know how to catch,” in response to whether you would consider switching to receiver. Looking back to that time three years ago, are you proud of where you are now? How do you feel?

PRYOR: I was lying in bed last night and I was thinking about how people are so jealous of other people. And the only thing I’m jealous of is that the vision I once had for myself . . . this is not quite where I envisioned myself to be. So I think in terms of that, that’s kind of what I battle with. That’s what makes me work hard.

KAHLER: What is your relationship like with Kirk Cousins?

PRYOR: It’s very positive. It’s like any relationship, it grows and grows as you get comfortable with each other and learn each other. You just continue to get better.

Pryor prepares to catch a pass during position drills.

Pryor prepares to catch a pass during position drills.

KAHLER: Do you think your knowledge as a former quarterback helps you as a receiver? Is there a specific instance where your quarterback mentality helped you to make a play?

PRYOR: I think a lot of times, whether is it going against a safety, where you are running deep or it’s Cover 2 or Cover 4 and really understanding the angles to get across the face and knowing what the quarterback is thinking or where he wants to put it, and knowing where the underneath guys are going to be at, where the holes are. I think it is a little more advanced, but there are a lot of smart receivers out there that know that too. I don’t know if that’s above them, but it makes me comfortable.

KAHLER: In coming to Washington, you chose a short term, one-year deal, so you’ll have to prove yourself this season. Why did you choose to bet on yourself?

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PRYOR: I wanted to play with Kirk. It’s something that really lit my eyes up and lit my mind up. Kirk Cousins is here; Jay Gruden is here. Obviously we have a fabulous organization here. This is the best possible spot. And also I have a supporting cast . . . I’m going to be the main focus but at the same time, you can’t double me every single play. And that is something that caught my eye as well.

Kirk Cousins Runs One of the NFL’s Best Play-Action Offenses

KAHLER: Do you and Cousins ever discuss the fact that you are both here on short-term deals? That you’re in this together?

PRYOR: Absolutely. We chatted. We chat about a lot of things. He’s a heck of a guy, and we talked about that exact thing. We know we need each other, we know that. And I tell him every day, I’m here for you.

KAHLER: You’re an example of a player who has successfully switched positions. Do you ever give out any advice to other guys in the league who might be thinking about it?

PRYOR: I think the only advice I could really give is that if you enjoy the game, always find a way to stay on the field. Always find a way to continue playing the game until either you go out on your terms or they kick you out because nobody wants you to play for them. That’s just how you have to look at it and just continue to work on your craft and always sharpen them.

Kirk Cousins Sets Out to Prove It Again

KAHLER: What was the lowest point in making that position switch? Was there a moment where you thought, Maybe this isn’t going to work?

PRYOR: I never thought it wasn’t going to work. The lowest point was probably when I got released from the Browns [in September 2015], when I had a hamstring injury, because I was doing awesome, really just prepping for 30 days . . . and then when I got released from them because I had a hamstring injury. I was like, Damn. But they ended up bringing me back in Week 10. They believed in me and believed that I could eventually get there and that’s just from hard work and guys giving me opportunity.

KAHLER: Last season you were working on finishing up your college credits in online courses. Where are you in your college degree now?

PRYOR: I still haven’t finished. Five credits. I believe that is one semester. I have two classes I have to take . . . I got to do two more of those and I’m home free. I’ve been really grinding, working on my craft, and my son, as much time as I can, I try to spend with him as well. I think I have some type of biology class next. I am graduating in forensics. I think I have a Spanish class left too.

KAHLER: Receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon both left Washington in free agency. How would you describe the dynamics of the receiver group now? Who has the best taste in music? Who is the loudest?

PRYOR: We’re just pretty mellow, man. We have some funny guys in there, Brian Quick, Matt Hazel, we’re really a mellow group. Guys work hard. It’s probably one of the best groups I’ve been around, QB-wise and wide receiver-wise, because a lot of guys, they have the skill set. They can get out of breaks, and that’s also kudos to Ike Hilliard, our coach, because he really puts pressure on that. He’s not real harsh on us; he coaches us the right way. A lot of guys respond in a good way to his coaching. He does a good job.

KAHLER: What is your favorite part about playing wide receiver, as opposed to playing quarterback?

PRYOR: My favorite part about it is just impacting the game or making a catch or drawing double-teams to open it up for my teammates. I think that is my favorite part, because guys have to respect you. It’s up to you whether you get that respect or not. I like that about it. If you’re a quarterback, they are coming to get you regardless, whether they respect you or not, they are coming, so I think that is something that is different.

KAHLER: What is your favorite part about playing for Washington?

PRYOR: I just like the camaraderie that we have. I like how Coach Jay Gruden handles us; I think he is a fantastic coach. I like the organization, I like how it moves, from the training camp to the equipment people, fans—it’s just great. I’m sure that this isn’t the only great atmosphere, but being here is one of the best I’ve been around. I enjoy it and hopefully look forward to playing here for a long time.

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